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Provocative dress remark by judge: Kerala govt to challenge anticipatory bail granted to Civic Chandran in rape cases

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The state of Kerala is set to knock on the doors of the Kerala High Court, challenging the anticipatory bail granted to author Civic Chandran in two cases of sexual harassment, in which the judge had remarked that a woman wearing a sexually provocative dress cannot accuse a person of sexual harassment under Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code.

Kozhikode Sessions Judge S Krishnakumar granted bail to Chandran on August 2 in a case related to sexual harassment, punishable under Sections 354, 354 A(1)(ii), 354 A(2), 354 D(2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1999.

Principal Judge S. Krishnakumar of the Kozhikode Sessions Court had observed that if a woman was wearing a sexually provocative dress, then Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code (sexual harassment) would not be prima facie attracted.

There was insufficient prosecution evidence to prove the case filed by the complainant, the lower court had noted.

The Sessions Court noted that the photographs submitted by Chandran, along with his bail application, indicate that ‘the woman’s style of dressing is sexually provocative’.

It further said that the court found it hard to believe that a 74-year-old physically-disabled man could forcibly “hold the complainant, pin her to his lap and press her breasts”.

A woman belonging to the Schedule Tribe community had filed a complaint with the Koyilandy police in April, this year, accusing Chandran of sexually harassing her at a poetry camp organised at Nandi Beach on February 8, 2020.

She further alleged in her complaint that even after the assault, Chandran continued to harass her on phone. Though the complaint was filed two years ago, the First Information Report was registered in July, 2022.

The woman has also filed a case under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

A similar case was lodged against Chandran earlier also, when a woman had accused the 74-year-old author of harassing her sexually during a book launch in Koyilandy. The author has remained absconding since the registration of first case. He was granted anticipatory bail in the first case on August 2, 2022. On the same day, Chandran moved the Sessions Court for bail.

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